Every now and again, you find yourself at a funeral. Sad music, sad people, weird clothes. A body on display like a turkey on the Thanksgiving table, except you're not sure if you should look or not. Can the deceased hear you? Are they really dead? What's dead like?
I found myself in such a situation, when my then boyfriend, now fiance's grandfather passed a few years back. I sat with the family, looped in a solemn horseshoe formation around the casket as people paid their last respects.
As I watched everyone pass, I couldn't help but feel suddenly, overwhelmingly out of place. Here I was, only having known the man for the past five years, yet I was front and center for the last moments of his time above ground.
I wanted to be there, wanted to support my boyfriend, but I wondered, was this who he expected to be left standing when he died? Would he be disappointed with this turnout? Did I even deserve to be here?
In 70 plus years of life, just think of all the people he'd known. From his first friends in grade school, to high school, his first job, former girlfriends, bosses, people he'd met doing sports, the list goes on and on and on.
And at the very end, here was me and a few other people. And this is who and what it'd all come down to.
That got me thinking about how sad and how scary it is, that we can all count on one hand the people who TRULY care about us. We go through people in our lives like we do coffee filters, and the time we take to brew each relationship before we change that filter, seems to be getting increasingly shorter.
How many people have you lost? No I don't mean they died, I mean simply "lost touch" with? Not because you wanted to or should have (that's a whole different story) but simply because you nor they could be bothered to continue to hold the relationship together? Your best friend in elementary school, do you still talk? Your college roommate? The person you met in zumba class and went to dinner with a few times?
Our relationships these days seem like a revolving door. We meet because we have something in common, be it work, hobbies, classes, mutual friends, whatever. We talk, we bond, we hang out, and then slowly, slowly, we talk less. We stop hanging out. Someone moves. Lives change. And soon we don't talk anymore at all. All those little things we told each other no longer even matter. We didn't mean enough to each other to withstand the heavy pull of life.
And I have to admit, sometimes it breaks my heart.
How many times have we become close to someone for a time, telling them every detail of our day to day lives, only to have it fade away as though we'd barely met at all?
Perhaps this is a natural part of life, and we're only meant to know some people for a very short time. They might come into our lives to help us with a problem or solve an issue, and for nothing more. But sometimes, maybe it would be nice to forge more friendships that would last until the end of our lives.
Not fancy, hang out every second friendships, but friendships that you could pick up right where you left off, friends that will be there for you no matter what happens friends that love you . We all have a few like that. Why cant we have more?
Relationships, like everything worth having in life, take work. We seem to want to do less and less work. It's easier to simply stop working to be a good friend and find someone else that fits our current needs. People and things change, and its easier to go out and find replacements than to work on what we already have, and add to it.
I'm guilty of holding onto strings better left to fray. When I befriend someone I try to give it my all, but I can say the only people who haven't let me down are a couple of my girls and my fiance. Probably good that I'm marrying him then!! ;)
Everyone else turns out to be somewhat of a letdown, They stop talking to me suddenly or slowly, they fade away without reason, they lose interest in working for a friendship. It makes me sad. But I know that I am not alone. I see it happen everywhere, with everyone. I'm sure I'm guilty of being the letdown at least once, too.
Naturally, that's made me less sensitive to people that talk to me. "New friends" if you will. I am always happy to get to know people but I don't expect much to come of it. I don't expect them to remember me when I'm 75, or 45, or in many cases, 30.
What does this teach us? To always embrace ourselves and our independence. The things that keep me happy I've learned to find within myself, my design, my work, my goals. Fitness. My dogs. People are additions to your life, and shouldn't ever become your reason to exist, or your motivation to go for those things you want for yourself.
Perhaps you must let them fall in and out of your life, maybe that's how its supposed to be. Perhaps life is meant to be lived meeting, loving and losing as many friends as we can.
That doesn't mean it isn't sad when we realize someone we used to (or still do) care about has stopped talking to us slowly. That doesn't make it any easier when we leave a job and we never see the person we spent day in and day out with, ever again.
What if it didn't have to be that way? What if we put a little more effort into telling the people that we want in our lives, that we want them there? Or better yet, showing them. What would we have to lose? I'm not talking about horrible exes, or mean bosses, or former friends who turned into something we don't even want to know anymore.
No I'm talking about those silent faders, where nothing ever went wrong, nothing really changed, but the friendship ended because no one put in the effort. Those are the saddest losses, those are the ones that make us wonder if anyone truly cares about us at all.
So...... go out there, weather it be in your personal life or your business life, and send an old friend a message. Meet up. Tell your current friends they mean something, and don't allow them to fade without any negative reason for doing so. Cut people slack. Forgive minor imperfections and offenses.
Put in some damn effort. Just like you should with your professional life, your spouse, your kids your health and your pets. Put in some effort and care a little bit.
Someday that's gonna be you. Laying in that coffin. When all is said and done who is going to be there to remember you and what you meant in your time here? Assuming they haven't passed before you of course, who will be able to say they really knew you through a big portion of this thing called life?
Who will you support throughout this life, who do you want there. There's never a wrong time to remind them of that. Remind them now. Before the sad music and the weird clothes and the coffin thing.
Before its too late.
"If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"
I think it does. I think it makes the same sound it would if it were surrounded by a crowd of people.
But you read the quote. No one is around to hear it. No one cares. No one will come chop the tree up into logs. No one will plane the logs down into boards. No one will build a chair or a table or a baby crib out of that tree. It doesn't matter if it's among the finest Mahogany in the country. It will rot, marred by maggots and larvae, unseen and forgotten into the ground.
It could have been so many wonderful things.
Like all trees do, it began as a seed sailing on a puffy little cloud, or some happy crap like that. (More than likely, it was stuck to a fox's left ass cheek, and was carried a couple of miles before dropping off.) It found a comfy place to live, and it put down roots. Because its a tree, it cant put a for sale sign out, call for a U-Haul and move. It would be stuck there for the rest of its life. It would have to wait for people to find IT to determine it was worthy of being made into something.
Good news. You are not a tree! You can move wherever you want. You can interact with whomever you want. You can be made into whatever you want.
Of course there's always gonna be that crowd that wants to sit home in their pajamas and is content working at the 7-11 for the rest of their lives. Key word: wants. Getting by doing the minimum is enough for them, seriously. But what if that's not you?
What if you want to start a company, what if you want to create art seen around the world, what if you want to be a pro athlete or create a clothing line or increase awareness and raise money to cure a disease? You can't be the unseen tree. And you can't be scared to rip yourself up by the roots.
You need to be everywhere. People often think its bragging, or gloating about themselves if they continue to promote to the world what they do well. We all know that asshole on social media that posts 3040 selfies of everything they do and every other post says "F#*K the haterssss!" But just WHY does that person bother you and I so much, you fellow hater?
No its not because you're jealous. You're actually, seriously nauseated by their content. It's because their content isn't real. Everything's always perfect. They never get upset, or fail or have a bad day, or fart in a crowd and blame someone else, or fail to wash their hair for six days. You, unfortunately, can't relate to them. You fail often and forget to be perfect. Therefore, you wish they would just go away. They don't make you feel good about yourself. They make you feel bad . Why would you buy what they're selling or support them in their missions?
The people and businesses you look up to and ultimately buy from and support make you feel great. They share not only the good, but the bad. They make noise and its real. They put themselves out there flaws and all. You can relate, it feels like you know them. You'd buy sawdust in a package from them because even if you've never met them, they're your friends, and you trust your friends.
So there's good noise and bad noise. And then there's no noise . We all know that artist that THINKS no one will like his work so he hides it in his closet, even though he's the most amazing thing you've ever seen. Or that great writer who was told by someone that publishing a book is unreasonable and stupid, so they put that dream on the shelf and stayed silent. Or that ice cream shop whose owner doesn't know or care how to use a computer, so they aren't on any social media. No one knows they make the best banana split for 50 miles.
You're good at something and you have dreams. Whether you think you'll ever get there or not, you don't stand a chance if you don't put it out there. Social Media has made it easier than ever to share with the world what those are, and to remain humble. Don't spam people or be fake and perfect. Be real. Be someone they can know without ever having met you. People go with what they know and hear consistently. They support it, they think of it often, they buy from it.
Be in people's heads. Not screaming spammy crap, but be there for what you're good at and for who you are. Don't be afraid to be imperfect and don't be afraid to be really good at something and tell the world. You're good at it because it was meant for you and you love it. You're going to mess up a LOT because you're human.
You're not a tree. You can do whatever it takes to succeed. Email everyone you know and be yourself. Do it again a couple months later. Talk to people, meet people. Walk up to them even though you have no idea what to say. You'll look stupid. You will. You'll feel stupid. Deal with it. Anyone who got anywhere, dealt with it. It'll separate you from everyone that quit.
There's so many cool people out there, with cool examples and inspiration. Whatever it is you want to do, someone probably already did similar. Find out how and then do it better.
Talent is worth nothing if no one knows you have it and you're too scared to use it. Its yours, go own it before its too late. Be the tree that grows next to the Eiffel tower, not in the middle of Montana. Make sure everyone hears you when you fall.
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There are some citizens of North Korea that believe their Dear Leader doesn't have an asshole. That's right, they believe he's a God. Gods don't eat leftover sushi that's been in the fridge one day too long and spend the next seven hours on the porcelain throne begging for mercy.
But...... I do.
And so you do.
So many of us only portray to the outside world what we WANT to look like. What we want everyone to see. We Facebook and Instagram about our super cool awesome lives.
Our big move to Texas. Our engagement to the perfect person. Our new baby. Our 20 lbs weightloss. We look damn near like we're living the dream to all our adoring "fans" that scroll by our content. We hope secretly, in some twisted way, that someone will be jealous of us and the awesomeness that spills from our carefully presented personalities. And they are. Just like YOU get a twinge of envy when you see the supposedly perfect lives of those around you.
But here's what you don't know. That girl that moved to Texas can't find a good job and misses her family more than she thought she would. That perfect couple had a big fight the other night and sometimes they can't freaking stand each other. That new baby kept mom up all night and while shes happy, shes tired and sometimes she misses her old life and just wants to go for drinks with friends. That girl that lost 20 lbs was only eating a few crackers and coffee for three months to get there. You see where I'm going.
It's all lies and exaggerations. All these people you thought were so awesome, struggle too.
I'm guilty of that in part myself. I've been doing great, no seriously great (not lying!) with my business. As I approach a year of doing this on my own, I really can't ask for a lot more. It's been a crazy ride of learning and figuring out what the hell I'm doing!
But waittttt isn't one of my other passions fitness? Didn't I used to pick up heavy shit and put it down and compete on a stage wearing about 18 square inches of glittered blinged out fabric? Yeah. That was indeed me.
Anyone that knows me knows that with me, its 110% or its 0%. There IS no moderate, no in between.
Right now my kitchen's a mess. I think maybe, there's a new species breeding in the sink. I've stepped over my pants from Monday on the floor about 3040 times. That's the kitchen floor. I don't know how they got there. (Get your mind out of the gutter!) That's my 0%.
And then, there was fitness. For the last two years, I've ran hill sprints until I fell over and lifted weights for nearly 3 hours a day 6 days a week. Ran up the stair master until I looked like I'd just been dragged through a swamp for an hour. I starved and ignored it and stuffed a family sized bag of spinach into my face to fill the space where chocolate ice cream should have gone once and a while.
And I loved it . I loved pushing unbelievably hard and doing what most people would have given up on a long long ago. Competing in what is arguably the hardest sport in the world, propelled me to quit my job and start a business and push like hell for THAT too. Don't want to go sell yourself to strangers? Think of it like cardio! Put the blinders on and just go do it. Don't think. Do. You will finish. There is no other way. That was my mentality and still is when I want something.
But unfortunately unlike in business, the body has a point of diminishing returns on the work and time invested into it. After I stepped off that stage it slowly hit me. I was so sick of being hungry. I was sick of eating spinach. I was sick of being cold. I was sick of my hair thinning and having wacked out hormones. I was sick of being tired all the time. I was just sick.
That in no way should discourage anyone else from getting in shape or even competing as healthfully as they can, by the way. I'll say it again, I was EXTREME. I dieted for two years with no break. If someone was walking for cardio I had to run. If someone was lean I had to get leaner. If someone was lifting a lot I had to lift more, for longer duration. I had to do everything the hard way just to say that I could.
My 110% effort was suddenly bringing me down. I had no choice but to finally eat more and to lay off my insane workouts. I worked out like a normal person. I did a little easy cardio. I ate a lot of food. And my veins and cuts disappeared and the scale approached ghastly numbers.
I hated it. I knew I needed it but after being the Mayor of Shredsville for two years, I had to get on the bus to Normalville and move away. I packed my bags ( most of which was packed into my ass, thank goodness!) and became a "normal fit girl".
It's freaking weird. As far as fitness right now I'm a moderate and balanced normal girl. I lift. I eat ice cream. I feel freaking great. But I'm not this shredded up little freak right now. And I would be lying if I said I don't miss it. It was different. It got compliments. And yes, It got me business .
Business is one thing where I don't think it will hurt me to give my 110%. And I will continue to do just that. Ain't no one else going to get to the top of this game for me. That too, is really freaking scary and hard. And sometimes, yeah I cry over it. I'm human, just like you.
The point of this little tale is just that. Everyone has this highlight reel that they display, be it over social media, or in person when they talk about their lives. When things don't go perfectly, we don't often share. I've all but stopped posting to my fitness Instagram admittedly, because why? Shall I go "Oh here is me "undoing" all my hard work and failing! Look at this!" I just don't think anyone would find that very mentally inspiring, coming from a purely fitness standpoint.
Still I have nothing to hide about anything that I struggle with. Anything you see me do was certainly backed by struggle and tears and difficulty. Don't ever let those things make you feel like you shouldn't keep going when you have a goal.
Don't ever say "oh but so-and-so built an empire overnight while frolicking through daisies, so why the hell can't I?" No, so-and-so failed and cried and lost and messed up and sucked at life some days.
You just didn't see it because Instagram had them on the beach in Hawaii sipping a mixed drink. In reality, their mom paid for the trip because they were broke and not pictured is the boyfriend that dumped them a week before.
So yeah, I suck. Man I really, really suck. I'm totally lost at what to do sometimes in my business, I didn't even know how to eat enough food for two years, I yell at my fiancee over stupid things and I never fold laundry. Ever. But I'm not going to let those things stop me from going for what I want 100%. And failing harder. Anything worth going for is going to be riddled with failure. There isn't a way around that. None. So may as well keep on screwing up.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to see what leftovers I can find in the fridge. I wish I could report that nothing ever makes me sick from in there, but unfortunately, last week, something did. I don't seem to be missing an exit like the leader of North Korea. Guess that means, I am only human, and I may indeed be visiting the porcelain throne later. How's that for today's highlight reel!